December Garden Tips

Betula albosinensis

Betula albosinensis

Of all the Trees that are in the Wood:  There is holly and ivy of course, and very lovely they are too.  But now, with the leaves blown away, look up and appreciate the structure of deciduous trees; oaks exposing their elbow shaped branches and those artificial, elegant structures of pleached limes showing a warm red young growth. Favourites for bark colour include Betula albosinensis which has a faint touch of icing pink, the more usual Betula utilis var. jacquemontii is bone white.  The best glossy red-brown is shown by Prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry).  Beautiful Arbutus menziesii (Madrona) has a glorious warm ochre peeling bark.

Flowerhead of a mop head hydrangea

Flowerhead of a mop head hydrangea

Deck the Halls: Gather and bring into the house, dried flower heads of hydrangea, alliums and grasses, it makes a change from the above mentioned evergreens.

Deep and Crisp and Even: Shake the snow off shrubs and trees, the weight can snap branches of left to freeze – a quick way to turn yourself into a walking snowman, should you stand underneath.

Arbutus menziesii

Arbutus menziesii

O Christmas Tree:  As a garden designer I would like to put in a request: please don’t buy a christmas tree complete with roots in order to plant it out in the garden after Christmas – unless your live in a forest.  Be it fir, pine or spruce it will grow quite quickly into a very large and ugly tree.  It is perfectly acceptable from an environmental point of view to buy a freshly cut tree, decorate it, love it and then put it out for recycling on 6th January.

Prunus serrula at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge

Prunus serrula at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge

In the Bleak Midwinter: There’s no feeling of urgency, but a few jobs can be done during December if weather allows.  Carry on mulching as long the ground isn’t frozen. Remember to air the greenhouse on mild days.  Make a start on cutting evergreen hedges.  Prune grape vines.

Mahonia japonica

Mahonia japonica

Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing? (yes, this is a carol) Mahonia japonica is the flower of choice for any insects venturing out this December.  Blue tits rather like it too.

By | 2017-04-03T08:48:27+00:00 December 1st, 2015|Gardening Tips|Comments Off on December Garden Tips